Like many Americans, Washington Wizards rookie Chris Singleton wanted to win last week's Mega Millions lottery jackpot, a mammoth windfall estimated at a record $500 million. I mean, according to his Twitter account, he really wanted to win. Like, "willing to drop $10,000 on tickets to improve his chances" wanted to win.
Singleton told his followers late Sunday that he did win some money. Like all but (reportedly) three other Americans, though, he was unsuccessful in his quest for the Mega Millions jackpot, despite his sizable outlay. While the Florida State product is likely disappointed at coming up short in the drawing, he surely remains "dedicated to making more money," a dogged pursuit of "that Bill Gates bread" that Wizards fans hope inspires Singleton to great on-court production in the years ahead.
For his part, the 22-year-old forward doesn't regret shelling out $10,000 for a chance at a half-billion. If he hadn't, Singleton said, he would have just spent the money somewhere else, according to Michael Lee of the Washington Post:
He added that he felt he made a wise investment, even though he didn't win. "[It was either] that or blow it in the club," Singleton said.
Tell me about it. Ten stacks can disappear real quick on Lapdance Tuesday.
The mad super-geniuses behind the sadly long-dormant Wizards-focused comedy blog Wizznutzz dubbed Singleton's line to Lee arguably the greatest Wizards quote of all time, and spent much of the morning generating sweet jokes on Twitter with the delightful hashtag #EitherThatOrBlowItInTheClub. Their jokes stem from the strong grasp of some basic realities about what Singleton said — it was foolish, it was borderline insulting to the average working-stiff NBA fan for whom the freedom to spend $10,000 on anything (let alone lottery tickets or bottle service) is a foreign concept, and it ran counter to what most people would consider basic maturity or common sense.
We can remember the kinds of things we said and did when we were 22 years old and give the rookie the benefit of the doubt, or even a pass, if we think he might have been kidding around with Lee and the other Wizards beat guys. (Lord knows those folks could use a laugh.) But even if we do, Singleton should probably have known that this is the kind of thing that basically always angers fans and gets negative attention.
Think about recent stories like Julius Erving having to auction off his hard-earned awards and trophies, Antoine Walker having to sell his title ring and even the overstated financial woes of Allen Iverson — people always wonder how men who made millions of dollars over the course of their playing careers could "go broke." When they find out about the exorbitant line items that all too frequently led to the players' insolvency, the rage and schadenfreude flow.
None of this is Singleton's responsibility, of course, but it's the fact of the matter. If (God forbid) Chris Singleton winds up destitute after his playing days are over, the first thing reporters, bloggers and anyone else looking to talk about his fate will find is a story that as a rookie making $1.485 million, he was actually dropping $10,000 on lottery tickets, and then also cracking jokes about dropping $10,000 at nightclubs. It wasn't the most awful thing in the history of the world or anything; it was just kind of dumb.
In other words, this was a very Wizards thing to say, and shows that even with JaVale McGee in Denver, Nick Young in Los Angeles and Andray Blatche on the inactive list, the spirit of ridiculousness remains strong with the Wiz. You'd imagine that owner Ted Leonsis wouldn't be too thrilled to hear one of Washington's two 2011 first-round picks toss off a line like that, especially after shuffling the deck by dealing McGee and Young at the trade deadline in an attempt "to re-craft our team and refocus our culture to one that is serious and is about winning." This wouldn't seem to be a public comment in line with that serious, winning culture the owner wants.
Then again, maybe I'm wrong. Spending $10,000 on tickets does seem like a clear sign that Singleton was serious about winning the drawing, so maybe Leonsis would be on board. Plus, as Singleton noted multiple times on Twitter, the purchase and its aftermath got national coverage on "Good Morning America" and a variety of other outlets (including, now, this one). For a boring (on the court, at least) 12-41 team among the league's five-worst in both offensive and defensive efficiency, one that's headed for its fourth straight way sub-.500 finish, any pixels are good pixels, right?
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